Known internationally as the 'Malaysian Mowgli', Muhammad Syukor Khamis has found himself losing over 40 buffaloes to a contagious bacterial disease since last week
Syukor broke the tragic news on his Facebook page yesterday, 14 September, lamenting that his family is currently going through a difficult time.
"Big challenge for our family. It may be caused by the plague season. Our family is praying for this disaster to end soon," wrote Syukor in the caption of the post with photos showing the carcasses of the animals.
At the time of his posting, Syukor, also known to his fans as 'Kampong Boy', did not know what disease caused the death of his herd.
When the first buffalo died on his farm last Wednesday, 9 September, Syukor thought it fell victim to poisoning
"In the beginning, I thought my herd was poisoned or suffering from common diseases. But the strange phenomenon continued on and more started dying, including 11 buffaloes today," the 15-year-old boy told Sinar Harian.
"Judging from the condition of the surviving buffaloes, there are more than five who are in an unhealthy condition and may die for the same reason."
Although sad, Syukor can still muster a smile because his favourite buffaloes, named Semek and Along, remained healthy.
He said they have been given a vaccination as a preventive measure.
In a report by Harian Metro today, 15 September, the total number of deceased buffaloes have amounted to 41.
It is estimated that his family has suffered RM300,000 in losses
Syukor's father, Khamis Jusoh, said the buffaloes only displayed flu symptoms and did not show any signs of illness before their death.
"There is a possibility that the animals died due to haemorrhagic septicaemia (HS)," said the 64-year-old, adding that this is the first time it has happened to him.
It turns out Khamis, who has been raising buffaloes for the past 50 years, is right.
According to the latest report by New Straits Times, the Terengganu Veterinary Department (JPV) has confirmed that the buffaloes died of HS, a contagious bacterial disease.
JPV director Dr Mohd Termizi Ghazali said the HS disease was first found in a village in Marang, Terengganu in August.
The disease slowly died down soon after, but it reemerged on 12 September.
Dr Mohd Termizi said, "I had reminded farmers to inject their livestock with HS preventive vaccines. Unfortunately, not all farmers complied with the instructions and in the end, they suffered losses."
Last year, Syukor caught international attention when photos of him and his buffaloes won multiple awards
The photographs were taken by two Malaysian photographers, namely Dollah Deen and Mohd Nazri Sulaiman, reported Mashable Southeast Asia.
Their images won 'Street/People Photographer of The Year Asian Geographic - Image of Asia 2018'.
In the same year, it also won an award in Italy.
Earlier this month, photographer Yusuf Madi took a picture of Syukor and his buffalo, and it went on to become the 'Images of Asia Monthly August 2020 Winner'.
As of press time, Dallah Deen's photos of Syukor looking at the buffaloes in despair have gone viral on social media.